An insightful op-ed by Joan Peterson, co-president of the Northland chapter of the Brady Campaign and a member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees, shines a light on the recent, tragic gun violence in Minnesota. In the piece she mentions a shooting in New Hope, in which two police officers were ambushed while being sworn in at City Hall. The shotgun Raymond Kmetz used in the assault – along with two others that were found in his car – was acquired via a “straw purchase,” illegally bought for him by an acquaintance.
This incident is just one more frightening instance of a prohibited purchaser getting his or her hands on a gun through a straw purchase. It is startling to think that ninety percent of crime guns come from only five percent of gun dealers. By willingly putting guns in the hands of prohibited purchasers, these straw buyers and the gun dealers who sell to them pose as great a threat to America’s citizens as those who end up with the firearms. This is why Brady is working hard to hold these dealers accountable through its Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers campaign.
The danger these straw purchasers and bad apple gun dealers pose to the citizens of this country is no more apparent than when considering the safety of law enforcement officers in America. In 2014, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that fifty officers were killed by gunfire, a 56 percent increase from 2013.
This trend of criminals targeting law enforcement officials is unsettling. In the last decade, the percentage of officers who were ambushed and killed in the line of duty rose from 12 percent to 21 percent, and recent examples such as the shooting in New Hope illustrate the part that bad apple gun dealers have played in this dramatic increase.
You can read Joan’s full op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune.